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Private Streaming How-To

Private streaming (part of Bandcamp Pro) allows you to invite select people to listen to your private or draft tracks and albums on Bandcamp. For example, say you’re releasing an album next week, and want to invite a few music bloggers to have an early listen. Since it’s not out yet, you’ve got the album set to private. Just below the album name, you’ll see a link, “invite listeners”:

invite listeners link

Clicking that link takes you to the private streaming section of your Tools page:

private streaming tools section

From there, you just enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite to listen to your track, customize the email if you like, and click “send invites.” Your recipients will then receive a message that looks like this:

private streaming invite

Back in the private streaming section of your Tools page, you’ll see that there’s now a table showing you each invite you’ve sent out, when it was sent, and whether the link in that invite has been clicked. There are also controls that allow you to cancel or resend the invite:

private streaming table

Once the recipient clicks the link in their invite, they’re taken to a private page where they can stream the album or track in question. As soon as they do so, we notify you via email:

private streaming link clicked

Some things you may be wondering:

Are private streams secure?

It depends on your definition of “secure.” The links in the invites expire after a few visits, so that people can listen from both their home and office, but not widely share the link around. But a stream is a stream, and if music is coming out of a computer’s speakers, any 8-year-old can capture that music with Soundflower and have it up on MegaUpload RapidShare before their bus gets home. If that doesn’t sit well with you, we recommend you keep your music off the internet until its release date, period. If, however, your goal is to let press people stream some tracks from your new album while restricting the general public’s access, and you’re at peace with the risks that entails, then private streaming is for you.

Are there any restrictions on private streaming?

You can send up to 500 invites per day. We try to strike a balance between providing artists with enough invites to give everyone on their press list an early listen, and not opening up the possibility that a less upstanding individual could use the service for spamming (thereby ruining the party for all). If you’re looking to send to a larger list, you might consider download codes instead, which also work with private tracks and albums and have no such restrictions (since you, not Bandcamp, mail them out).